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Author Topic: Peer review of articles before publication  (Read 22604 times)
VK2FXXX
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Posts: 102




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« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2011, 02:24:59 AM »

Hey guys.
I see KI4SDY has been posting.
I assume the usual rubbish is spewing forth.
I have him placed on ignore. He is the only one I ignore on eham.
eham is a lot more pleasant that way.
Simply click on the ignore button underneath his call,and  his BS will almost disappear,the only way you see his dribble is in the quote boxes Roll Eyes
Hopefully 'I am also on his ignore list . Grin Grin
Brendan
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W8JI
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« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2011, 03:18:59 AM »

I have no problem with you being of the same mindset as long as you admit it. Unfortunately, he has not done the same.  Cry

You have a tendency to alter what other people say and put a large spin on it. You do that by incorrectly paraphrasing what other people say, so it suddenly means what you want it to mean. That way you can argue against some idea or comment that you actually created.

That's a common trait when a person has no real meaningful logical argument.

The fact is, if you look at the articles on question, they have very poor accuracy in many areas.

The 17 meter article, beside being off by a factor of three in band space (key to his room argument) is also loaded with names like "CBer" or slams against new people, and even includes a threat to "sell his radio gear".  None of that is necessary to make a point about split operation. All it actually does is encourage arguments.

If we look at the loop article, the measurement or comparison methods are terrible. First the author makes a claim that using more wire inside a given area of space makes the antenna act like a much larger antennas, then he validates the extraordinary claim with absolutely meaningless data. When questioned, in a nice non-personal way, the author "blows up" about how bad other people are and how great he is.

None of that has a place in a technical forum of any type. Much of the fault of that lies with lack of review and editing before publication. An author should be vetted for obvious technical content errors immediately, before the author is publicly embarrassed. He should also be vetted for stability and maturity by looking at how the author deals with questions in previously published work.

Moderation and review is the difference between a good discussion and a gang war.

73 Tom
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KI4SDY
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Posts: 1452




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« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2011, 06:21:21 AM »

So you didn't post a statement that referred to one of the articles supposedly in need of "peer review" as having content that was "nasty, demeaning, insulting and threatening" nor did you refer to it as a "rant?" Is that correct?

That's funny, some of your "followers" agreed with you.  Wink

« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 07:29:43 AM by KI4SDY » Logged
W8JI
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« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2011, 08:25:55 AM »

So you didn't post a statement that referred to one of the articles supposedly in need of "peer review" as having content that was "nasty, demeaning, insulting and threatening" nor did you refer to it as a "rant?" Is that correct?

That's funny, some of your "followers" agreed with you.  Wink



My guess is most people agree because they can read in context of what is being said, and do not feel any need to change what is said to prolong an argument needlessly.

Some are not as fortunate, and either cannot read things in context or feel some need to take words out of context to change overall meaning. Fortunately people who enjoy changing context are not large in numbers, so forums largely remain  educational on Ham forums.

Most Hams are pretty good sorts. Always has been that way.
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KC2KCF
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« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2011, 09:48:28 AM »

Thinking back, I never subscribed to 73 Magazine because many articles were so terrible. They had no review process at all. They actually printed things that could kill people, like a transformer-less linear amp that required the power plug inserted a certain direction, and many of their articles were rejects turned down by QST or CQ for inaccuracy.

QST, on the other hand, has a somewhat good process unless the article is authored by QST staff. :-) QST has a review section where reviewers with some technical qualifications can comment on articles privately before publication. The consensus of comments are sent back to authors for consideration.

CQ was in between the two extremes back in the days.

I think it may be useful to realise that the way information is communicated to special interest groups like radio amateurs has changed. Before the internet revolution, there may not have been that many other resources for obtaining technical information apart from periodicals or trade journals, and it made sense to publish tutorial-style articles, even if they repeated themselves after a while.

Today, it is almost trivial to find solid technical information on just about anything under the sun online, from simple tutorials to university-level textbooks. Given the abundance of information readily available, it would make sense to reserve "current articles" for "current news" or technical topics that, while not new, are relatively new in the amateur context (e.g. SDR).

Radio engineering is a very mature field with few innovations, and of those even fewer are within the grasp of or relevant to the vast majority of amateurs. If there's nothing new, just rehashing what is already well established and readily available elsewhere seems pretty pointless. If there seems to be something new that generations of pretty smart scientists and engineers failed to discover, there's a pretty good chance it's either wrong or so trivial that noone bothered to mention it.

In comparison, you'd have a hard time getting an article accepted in any reputable journal if you couldn't convince the editor there's some original and novel content. (The one exception are review articles, and they should be the exception rather than the norm.)

On another note, publishing technical/mathematical content in the html-style format used for web sites like eham is a quite cumbersome if not frustrating exercise compared e.g. to creating a PDF document with properly typeset mathematics, diagrams, etc. I suspect that good quality technical articles would be easier to come by if the format was more suited for technical publishing, and thus less troublesome for authors. Articles would probably be more readable, too ...

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N0YXB
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« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2011, 12:04:36 PM »

I see your point, but unfortunately knowledge being commonly available does not mean that writers of technical articles always make use of this knowledge.  Another problem is that there are myths and misconceptions that get repeated as factual knowledge, so it's good thing to have those with actual expertise and experience involved. 
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N3OX
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« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2011, 03:54:34 PM »

Today, it is almost trivial to find solid technical information on just about anything under the sun online, from simple tutorials to university-level textbooks. Given the abundance of information readily available, it would make sense to reserve "current articles" for "current news" or technical topics that, while not new, are relatively new in the amateur context (e.g. SDR).

Radio engineering is a very mature field with few innovations, and of those even fewer are within the grasp of or relevant to the vast majority of amateurs. If there's nothing new, just rehashing what is already well established and readily available elsewhere seems pretty pointless.

I don't necessarily agree.  EXAMPLES of how to do things specifically, including ALL details of construction and how to wind coils and so forth are really important to people getting started out.  I think we all need to remember that the process of getting good at antennas often starts simply with BUILDING something someone else  designed, and copying it as closely as possible, and then getting the satisfaction of using it.  And it's important that they understand why it worked well even if they don't have a lot of background.  In that sense, ham articles with distilled theoretical material are pretty useful.

But building a complex new thing takes time and energy and materials, and people want to know whether or not it's going to work well.  I think there is something of a signal-to-noise problem with construction-type antenna articles, especially for small antennas, because so many people define "works well" in terms of their own happiness with the antenna or the fact that it's the best thing they've tried.    But that's not what people need.  The reader of the article needs harder data to decide whether or not it will be better than their current compromise antenna.   And I think when the more subjective observations are coupled with a complicated "theoretical" explanation of how a novel flourish adds to the design, that can spoil a good construction article that convinces them to try something new.

I feel like a lot of ham antenna designs are trying for novelty of design instead of trying to make a compact, good performing thing out of inexpensive, widely available materials, and I'd like to see that turn around a little bit.  There are so many antenna articles that suggest "you should do this EXACTLY the way I did it, because ____insert technically questionable explanation here_______"  I'd much rather see "here's a six foot 40m meter antenna made of PVC pipe and wire that beats my ground mounted hamstick by 10dB."  or even better "I took this over to my friend's place in the country and here's the result of signal strength testing against a quarter wave vertical"

I don't know if peer reviewing on a website like eHam is really a good way to encourage that.  I have my doubts that it would actually be a positive thing...   I have had moments from time to time when I wish I could just shut down publication of technically questionable articles, but that's certainly not actually appropriate.  REBUTTAL articles are really the appropriate way to do it.  The problem with good rebuttals is that they're very time consuming, but if we got more people interested in participating, it would be a vibrant and interesting discussion by data.

I do think we need to do SOMETHING, because the way technical information is passed from ham to ham is probably keeping a lot of noise in the system, and makes it harder than necessary for people to learn about technical things.   

But I think the BEST approach is to just try to convince people that they shouldn't believe any ham at their word but just spend a little bit of time OBJECTIVELY testing different people's ideas.  That really sorts out the good sources from the bad very quickly... and keeps you from getting stuck in the inevitable blind spot that everyone has.  No one is right all the time, but people seem to be inclined to pick a favorite "guru" and stick with them.  That's not appropriate skepticism and I think it has caused a few nasty incidents in internet discussions I've seen, and probably a little bit of suppression of interesting ideas.    Some were probably esoteric enough that it doesn't matter, but I'm not sure about others.

And I am distinctly NOT talking about "new physics" beyond Maxwell's equations when I say that maybe some interesting things got lost in the arguments.  We (humankind) have subjected Maxwell's equations to much more stringent tests than any antenna design ever has.    What I'm talking about is people who generally give excellent engineering advice and who have a really high level of practical knowledge about electromagnetic theory, but who just hit the limit of what they thought could credibly happen within accepted and well-tested physics.  They just didn't think Maxwell's equations could do that thing.  That's the kind of blind spot I'm talking about.

One big problem is that so many antenna designs have been PROVEN to be a sham over the years.  There are people constantly trying to sucker people into buying some piece of junk that's needlessly complex and doesn't work.  There are all kinds of weird and provably untrue statements made about these antennas.  You have to throw up some kind of first line of defense against the torrent of snake oil and pseudoscience in order to learn anything real.  But then you get those things that are just on the boundary between "is it pseudoscience?" and "is it a counter-intuitive solution to a complicated boundary value problem?" and those things get tossed in the pseudoscience pile by a lot of technically apt folks.

If you won't risk even a little bit of your time and energy on something that sets off your initial BS detector, you might miss out on things.  If you never turn on a BS detector you'll get suckered constantly.

But I think my concern about this has made me think I should  write articles about how to tell the difference between BS and the good stuff using simple cheap test equipment and your own two hands.  Be a true skeptic... open minded but not a sucker, and test stuff in a meaningful way, show other people how to do it.   Then you have an immunization against snake oil peddlers without as many bad side effects.



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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
N3JBH
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« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2011, 05:05:54 PM »

Wow Dan i think you just might win The Pulitzer Prize for that one. Bravo bravo.
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W8JI
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« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2011, 06:08:39 PM »

If you won't risk even a little bit of your time and energy on something that sets off your initial BS detector, you might miss out on things.  If you never turn on a BS detector you'll get suckered constantly.

But I think my concern about this has made me think I should  write articles about how to tell the difference between BS and the good stuff using simple cheap test equipment and your own two hands.  Be a true skeptic... open minded but not a sucker, and test stuff in a meaningful way, show other people how to do it.   Then you have an immunization against snake oil peddlers without as many bad side effects.


I thought about the same thing.

I have a long balun article I have been writing that I feel is really important, but it is somewhat complex. I am going to do it.

Then, after reading the helical loop article and a few others over the years,  I seriously thought about writing a "how to compare antennas in a meaningful way" article that would include how NOT to compare.

If there is a lesson at all in the helical loop article, it how to NOT verify a claim. :-)

I sure hope someone writes an article about how to compare antennas. I'd be willing to partner or just stay away and finish the balun article.  :-) A good article, unfortunately, takes me a hundred hours or more.

73 Tom
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KC2KCF
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2011, 06:34:12 PM »

I don't necessarily agree.  EXAMPLES of how to do things specifically, including ALL details of construction and how to wind coils and so forth are really important to people getting started out.  I think we all need to remember that the process of getting good at antennas often starts simply with BUILDING something someone else  designed, and copying it as closely as possible, and then getting the satisfaction of using it.  And it's important that they understand why it worked well even if they don't have a lot of background.  In that sense, ham articles with distilled theoretical material are pretty useful.

I won't argue with that, but if a tutorial isn't linked to "current affairs", does it make sense to publish timeless information in a news-like stream of articles that get pushed down with age and quickly forgotten? For a periodical, that is the only way information could be published, but for a web site like eham I think it would make much more sense to publish such articles in a structured library/archive where they are easily found by those looking for information on a given topic, and where they could be revised and improved over time based on discussions/feedback.

Yes, there is an article archive on eham, but the fact that "classic articles" get frequently re-posted shows that even the site owners don't believe in its usefulness as a resource for finding information. Also, articles/discussions are frozen after a while (they can't improve) - maybe just when all the emotions would have cooled down enough for the discussion to become productive in improving the article.

I believe the publishing model can play a large role in shaping the quality of the resulting articles. E.g., Wikipedia articles are largely written/edited by the "unwashed masses on the internet" with very limited editorial control, but the quality of information there is in an entirely different league than what one typically finds here.

Sorry if this is leading a bit off-topic.

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N3JBH
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« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2011, 11:23:30 PM »

To W8JI, Boy Tom i hope you do publish that article on balun's You know how fascinated i am about them.  I enjoy making and playing with them and i am open to any words of wisdom about them. I recently seen pictures of one on QRZ that had a capacitor connected to the opposing leads  on the out put i really like to under stand the reason for it and what would be a correct type and size to use for that if there would be any advantage of it... Jeff heck if you don't want to publish it i enjoy a email even many many thanks.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #41 on: September 02, 2011, 06:48:06 AM »

...My belief is different. I think people should do their best to have a respectful tone to other people, no matter what the disagreement. I think articles that represent a publising group, be it QST and the ARRL, CQ magazine, or eHam should make some effort to see that people use some reasonable care in what they say, and treat others the way they would want treated.

That's my opinion....

73 Tom

I also have to agree with this statement.  Unfortunately, the great faceless internet inadvertently promotes the writing of any and all opinions--even those opinions that are not respectful of what was written by others.  That is all too apparent by the remarks that a few hotheads have made here on this site.
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KI4SDY
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« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2011, 10:05:42 AM »

I think eHam.net is doing a great job bringing us a breadth of interesting unfiltered articles from the whole ham community, along with the ability to make comments afterwards. The ease that an article can be written and submitted for instant publishing encourages participation. If prospective authors are required to "run through a gauntlet" there will be fewer articles to enjoy.  Cry

Nothing is broken, so it does not need to be fixed. If some hams feel the existing articles are substandard, they should write better articles to encourage other authors to elevate the content of their works. In other words, lead by example, not criticism, especially if you have never taken the initiative to create and post an article!  Wink    
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 05:54:29 AM by KI4SDY » Logged
W8JI
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« Reply #43 on: September 11, 2011, 09:42:07 AM »

I think eHam.net is doing a great job bringing us a breadth of interesting unfiltered articles from the whole ham community, along with the ability to make comments afterwards. The ease that an article can be written and submitted for instant publishing encourages participation. If prospective authors are required to "run through a gauntlet" there will be fewer articles to enjoy.  Cry

Nothing is broken, so it does not need to be fixed. If some hams feel the existing articles are substandard, they should write better articles to encourage other authors to elevate the content of their works. In other words, lead by example, not criticism, especially if you have never taken the initiative to create and post an article!  Wink    

Actually there is a great deal broken by not weeding through things a little bit before publication, if eHam wants this to be a valuable technical resource or advance the state of the art.

The problem with not peer reviewing is the same on Internet as for a magazine. When bad information gets published, it stays forever.

While everyone has a right to their own opinions and beliefs no matter how strange so long as they do not hurt others, opinions should not be presented in an uneditable article when they are far from factual. When misleading or wrong ideas are presented in a technical article, they are harmful. They set education back.

73 Magazine was that way. There was no peer review at all. Much of the older junk science still circulating today came from 73 Magazine.

73 Tom
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KC2VDM
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« Reply #44 on: September 11, 2011, 10:36:56 AM »

while  yes, I do think it would be a great idea for a review process, what if there is some bias? Many of you (me included) hated that "spirit of ham radio" article. you guys hated it, but what about someone else?

KC2VDM
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